Blog post Energy news Politics

Carbon tax: you can get PAID twice

T-Labs refs call B-S on carbon tax whining:

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil got it wrong when he said Nova Scotians would “pay twice” under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. Actually, many of them will GET PAID TWICE unless McNeil tries a cash-grab.

In fact, the biggest risk to Nova Scotians is that their own government will spend the tax money on useless, cockamamie projects.

stephen-mcneil
Stephen McNeil, premier

McNeil threw a fit when Trudeau said Canada would have a carbon tax starting in 2018 if the provinces don’t do anything on their own, which they won’t.

McNeil whined that Nova Scotians will have to “pay twice” to fight climate change, which is killing us, because we have already paid so much for the progress we’ve made to date reducing power company carbon emissions. He was backed by his human survival minister, Margaret Miller, who walked out of a federal-provincial conference in protest.

For clarity, by “paying twice” McNeil can only mean that we paid once through our higher power rates caused by renewables and cleaner air, and now must pay again through Prime Minister Dr. Evil’s carbon tax.

It’s a beloved story: Nova Scotians getting the shaft.

But at Turpin Laboratories, our Referees Division is blowing the whistle and calling “bullshit”. Here’s why:

In 2007, in a spasm of long-term thinking unnoticed except by then-Human Survival Minister Mark Parent, the N.S. Assembly passed sweeping environmental legislation that included bringing down GHG (carbon) emissions from power generation. At the time, Nova Scotia Power’s emissions were 10,648,422 tonnes per year.

Without that intervention it’s a good bet we would be emitting at least that much today, and probably more, despite some high-profile plant-closings.

So, let’s imagine that 2018 rolls around and we are emitting the very same $10,648,422 tonnes per year. How much would we pay in Trudeau’s dastardly carbon tax over the next nine years? The total would be $3,550,874,250 (see chart below).

However, our power emissions are currently just 6,772,769 tonnes. If we assume that rate from 2018 through 2026, our total carbon tax would be $2,370,469,150. The difference is $1,180,405,100. That is, Nova Scotians would SAVE  $1.2 billion.

Put still another way, Newfoundland, which today has emissions very close to what we had in 2007, would pay $1.2 billion MORE than Nova Scotians.

The difference is Nova Scotia’s reward for getting an early start. Sorry, but it’s just not the same as “paying twice”.

Also, the carbon tax revenues will not leave the N.S. economy. The feds will remit the funds back to the province. That’s where the real danger lies: instead of using it to lower provincial income tax, as B.C. does, our government could well use it to reward the province’s high rollers with projects like football stadiums or, say, a massive convention centre for Yarmouth or New Waterford.

On the other hand, if the province in fact lowered its income tax, regular folks would get a tax break and, if they actually reduced their carbon footprints, they would save money on gasoline and electricity.

In other words, they would get PAID twice: tax-break + energy savings = paid twice.

But we’re not done. Our political thinkers would have you believe that Nova Scotia is the only province to address GHG emissions. But Turpin Labs has discovered there are actually 10 provinces in Canada (who knew?) and some of them have reduced their GHGs, too.

Yes, Nova Scotia is tops with a commendable 29% since 2005. But N.B. (say it ain’t so) is right behind us at 27%. Ontario’s number is 19%. The Yukon is 40% (see chart below).

So, N.S. politicians, please stop pleading special case, grow up, and figure out how best to use all that new tax money coming your way. Hint: give it back to the people who paid it.

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